Avoid Over-Packing Your Presentation

For most presentations, we have way more content than time available.  Some presenters try to cram more into their presentation by increasing the rate of speech.  This is a mistake.  When information comes at us too fast, we don’t have time to process it and your audience will eventually shut down retaining almost nothing.

Here is in analogy to consider.  Think of your wealth of knowledge as a big closet full of clothing.  Your presentation is like a vacation.  In order to take the trip, you need to fill your suitcase with just the items you need to make the trip comfortable.  For example, you don’t need to bring your heavy winter coat if you are going to Hawaii.  If you pack too little, you may not have what you need for the trip.  If you pack too much, your items will get crushed, wrinkled and you may not be able to properly close your bag.  So you have to make some choices to ensure that you have what you need given the constraints of your luggage.

How might you do that for a presentation?  Here are just a few considerations:

* Plan to present in a little less time than is allotted so you have some wiggle room
* Identify what matters most to your audience (what do they want to hear) and speak to that
* Identify what your audience likely already knows and what they don’t which might require more explanation or examples
* Since people remember pictures and stories more than data, how can you use graphics or examples to tell more with less?
* Since your audience will not remember everything you say, what 3 things do you absolutely need them to remember and how can you make sure they retain that key message?

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